Lawyers Can Recover Compensation for Amputation Injuries
Many injuries fall into the “catastrophic” category specifically, those injuries that cause severe damage to the spinal cord or brain or injuries that result in the permanent loss of function of part of the body. One injury that can cause some of the most permanent and devastating effects for a victim is an amputation.
Amputations happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, amputations occur as part of necessary medical treatment for disease or infections. However, in many cases, people lose all or part of a limb or extremity because of a preventable accident caused by another party’s negligence.
Losing a body part is a traumatic experience that will completely change your life. If you or someone you care about suffered an amputation injury, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to explore your compensation options.
Types of Amputation Injuries
The loss of a limb or body part is a life-changing event. In limited cases, doctors can reattach a severed body part following the accident. In most cases, however, severed limbs cannot be reattached or replanted to the victim’s body.
Depending on the severity of the accident, amputations can include:
- Complete amputation. As its name implies, complete amputation occurs when a limb or body part gets completely severed from the victim’s body. It is very rare for doctors to successfully reattach the severed limb to the body following a complete amputation.
- Partial amputation. When a victim suffers a partial amputation, a damaged or severed body part or limb remains attached to the body, while much of the limb separates.
Amputation injuries further break into several types based on the body part that was affected and the cause of the amputation.
Here are the most common amputations:
- Traumatic amputation. This type of amputation occurs when a limb or body part gets severed due to a traumatic event such as a car accident. Traumatic amputations can be life-threatening because victims might lose as much as 1 liter of blood before the bleeding stops.
- Surgical amputation. This type of amputation occurs in a hospital setting and is performed by a medical professional. Typically, surgical amputations are necessary because of a disease, infection, or severe damage to a particular limb or body part. Surgical amputations usually do not involve the significant amount of blood loss associated with traumatic amputations.
- Amputation of the upper limb. Upper limb amputations involve the removal of the fingers, wrist, hand, arm, elbow, or shoulder.
- Amputation of the lower limb. Lower limb amputations involve the removal of the toes, feet, ankles, knees, legs, or pelvis.
If you or your loved one suffered a traumatic amputation injury because of someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct, you might be entitled to compensation for your resulting losses and damages, including lifelong medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, lost earning capacity, and others.
Types of Accidents That Cause Amputations
According to the Amputee Coalition, nearly two million people in the U.S. are living without a limb. Each year, approximately 185,000 amputations occur in the country. Some of these amputations happen due to accidental injuries sustained because another person acted carelessly.
The following are some examples of accidents that can lead to amputations:
- Traffic accidents - Many types of traffic accidents can cause victims to suffer an amputation. For example, motorcyclists may have a limb crushed in a collision to the point that repair is not possible. The same is true for bicyclists and pedestrians, who have very little protection from an impact and commonly suffer crushed or shattered bones. Collisions between large commercial trucks and cars can also result in amputations for serious injuries.
- Construction and workplace accidents - Construction sites, manufacturing plants, and similar workplaces all use a substantial amount of heavy machinery, power tools, and other equipment that can remove an extremity or limb in a single second. Use of band saws, compactors, forklifts, conveyor belts, and more can result in the severance of a body part or an injury so serious that it later requires a surgical amputation. In addition, people working jobs that require proximity to blasting and explosions are at risk of requiring amputation after shrapnel injuries.
- Burns - People can be severely burned by fires, scalds, toxic chemicals, electrocutions, and more. Third- and fourth-degree burns not only destroy all layers of the skin but also much of the tissue underneath, including bone, muscle, tendons, and ligaments. If damage from a burn is too great, a body part may have to be amputated to prevent further complications.
- Dog bites - While many dog bites cause minor wounds, some dog attacks can result in amputations. A dog may bite off part of a victim’s finger, hand, leg, or another body part. A victim may not be able to have the part reattached or may require amputation to prevent serious infections.
- Medical malpractice - You may believe that it is an urban legend that a patient goes in for routine surgery and wakes up without a limb. Yet shockingly, sometimes, surgeons perform incorrect procedures on their patients. With hundreds of patients having medically-related amputations scheduled every day, the chances of an accidental surgical amputation are possibly higher than you may think.
Regardless of what type of accident you were in, you deserve to obtain full and fair compensation for your medical bills, suffering, and other costs and damages associated with the loss of a limb.
Common Types of Complications of Amputation Injuries
People who suffer amputation injuries are at risk of serious complications, including but not limited to:
- Infection. If an amputee does not receive proper medical care or fails to take proper precautions when treating their wound, the wound is at risk of infection if dirt or germs enter the bloodstream.
- Edema. Edema refers to swelling that occurs when excess fluid gets trapped in the amputee’s surrounding tissues. Common causes of edema in amputation sites are re-injury or inflammation.
- Muscle weakness. When a patient loses their limb, they often have to use muscles in their other limb. This can result in pain, stiffness, or weakness because the limb cannot handle the added stress.
- Phantom limb pain. This complication is the pain that an amputee experiences as if it comes from the removed body part or limb.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder. People who suffer amputation injuries are more prone to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and other emotional and psychological effects associated with the loss of a limb.
Some of the complications of an amputation injury may linger for years, while others may stay for the rest of the amputee’s life.
The Treatment for Amputation Injuries
When a victim of a traumatic event, such as a motor vehicle collision, suffers an amputation injury:
- The victim spends time in the hospital and receives medical care for the severed limb.
- The doctors determine if they might reattach the severed limb.
- The doctors perform surgery to remove or reattach the limb.
- The victim recovers from the surgery and attends rehabilitation.
- The patient receives physical therapy.
- If doctors amputate a limb, the patient may purchase a prosthetic device.
When performing an amputation procedure, doctors will remove all damaged tissues and seal off all blood vessels. Depending on the complexity of the procedure, the patient may spend up to 14 days in the hospital. The treatment and rehabilitation associated with amputation injuries are often extremely painful and expensive. That is why patients who lost a body part or limb due to someone else’s negligence deserve compensation for their lifetime medical expenses, emotional distress, and other losses and damages.
The Cost of Amputation Injury
According to the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, the projected lifetime healthcare expenses for patients who suffered an amputation injury are $500,000. However, the actual cost of living with a lost limb is much higher because the amputee might have to purchase and maintain a prosthetic device, not to mention that victims who suffered an amputation injury may be unable to work for the rest of their life. The costs of an amputation injury are not only financial. The loss of a limb may also take a toll on a person’s emotional, psychological, and mental wellbeing.
You Deserve Compensation for Your Amputation Injuries
Anyone who has suffered an amputation knows how life-changing it can be. First and foremost, amputees can experience an overwhelming amount of suffering from the moment of the injury and for years to come due to “phantom limb” pain.
Additionally, after an amputation, a person can require an extensive amount of ongoing medical care, as many complications can arise, including infection and other post-surgical issues. Amputations often require extended hospitalization and recovery periods.
Whether or not a person chooses to use a prosthesis is a personal choice. Either way, an amputee will need extensive and costly medical equipment to accommodate their impairments. Patients also require ongoing therapy and support to adjust to life with a permanent disability. Often, a person who has suffered an amputation may have to change jobs, stop working, or at least take an extended break from work, resulting in a significant amount of lost income.
Seek the highest quality of attorney to represent your rights to compensation for the many losses you may incur due to a traumatic amputation caused by another person’s negligence.
Damages Available to Victims of Amputation Injuries
People who suffer amputation injuries because of someone else’s negligent or wrongful conduct are eligible for compensation. A victim may file a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault party to receive compensation for their expenses, losses, and damages. Many damages are available to people who lose a limb because of another’s negligent conduct.
However, the three most common categories of damages include:
- Current and future medical expenses. As mentioned earlier, the projected lifetime medical expenses associated with an amputation injury can be devastating. For an amputee, medical expenses can include the cost of the surgery, diagnostic testing, physical therapy, rehabilitation, prescriptions, purchase and maintenance of prosthetic limbs, and many others. These costs can rise well beyond $500,000 and may reach millions of dollars in past, current, and future bills.
- Lost wages and earning potential. Many victims who suffer amputation injuries cannot return to work and continue earning an income. For this reason, a settlement for an amputation injury almost always includes compensation for the loss of income and the lost/diminished earning capacity. If the amputee cannot work and provide for their family for the rest of their life, they are entitled to compensation for lost wages from past and future missed work.
- Emotional trauma. The emotional trauma associated with an amputation injury may persist for the rest of the amputee’s life. The tremendous amount of pain and suffering that the victim goes through after losing their limb is not comparable to anything else. An amputee may also suffer from mental anguish, distress, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and other non-physical effects of the amputation injury.
Amputees who seek compensation for their amputation injury after a traumatic event can collect these and many other damages. Speak with an experienced lawyer to determine the full extent of your losses and damages after the amputation.
Who Can Be Liable for Amputation Injuries?
Liability for traumatic amputation injuries depends on the facts and circumstances of the traumatic event that resulted in the loss of a limb. If you suffered injuries at work, you might be entitled to benefits through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. However, if your amputation injury resulted from someone else’s negligent conduct in a car accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent party.
Your chance of recovering maximum compensation depends on you speaking with a skilled personal injury attorney who can analyze your accident and identify liable parties.
Seeking Compensation for Your Losses
Anyone who has suffered an amputation knows how life-changing it can be. First and foremost, amputees can experience an overwhelming amount of suffering from the moment of the injury and for years to come, due to “phantom limb” pain. Additionally, after an amputation, a person can require an extensive amount of ongoing medical care, as many complications can arise, including infection and other post-surgical issues. Amputations often require extended hospitalization and recovery periods.
Whether or not a person chooses to use a prosthesis is a personal choice. Still, either way, the medical equipment needed to accommodate an amputee’s impairments will be extensive and costly. Patients also require ongoing therapy and support to adjust to life with a permanent disability. Often, a person who has suffered an amputation may have to change jobs, stop working, or at least take an extended break from work, resulting in a significant amount of lost income.
It is important that you seek the highest quality of attorney to represent your rights to compensation for the many losses you may incur due to a traumatic amputation caused by another person’s negligence.
Find Out How Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You
The amputation of part of your body is a traumatic event, regardless of whether it occurs surgically or during the course of an accident. While there are many inspiring stories about how well amputees are able to adapt to their new physical condition, the loss of part of your body will inevitably have a significant impact on your everyday life.
The economic and noneconomic losses associated with an amputation caused by the negligence of another person entitles you to significant compensation. As a victim, it is critical to ensure that any settlement you consider compensates you for your future losses. This is because accepting a settlement offer will release the at-fault party from any further liability meaning that you will no longer have the ability to seek further compensation. You should have an attorney review the facts of your case and generate an evidence-based estimate of your current and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of quality of life, and physical and emotional pain and suffering as well as any other damages to which you may be entitled.
At Abels & Annes, we are committed to helping those who suffered from amputations because of the negligence of another party recover the full value of their claim. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our Chicago amputation lawyers, call our office today at 312-924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.